GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Want to play for the Knicks next season? You better learn to love the triangle.
That, in essence, is the message being delivered by the Knicks over the past week. Not only has the team gone back to placing a bigger emphasis on the triangle in their offense, but apparently, according to coach Jeff Hornacek, they now plan to judge players by how well suited they are to playing it.
“When the end of the year comes and we’re having our discussions, we’ll say ‘Can this guy play this offense?’ ” Hornacek said on Tuesday. “And we’ll say either yea or nay, or he’s getting it or he’s getting better. I’m sure that will be part of the evaluations this year.”
It already seems to be a part of the evaluations. Brandon Jennings, a freestyle playmaker who was not a good fit for team president Phil Jackson’s triangle, was waived on Monday after Jackson failed to trade him before the deadline. As a possible replacement, the Knicks signed Chasson Randle, who was with the team in training camp. Both Randle and rookie Ron Baker, another hungry young player the Knicks want to evaluate, came into the league undrafted.
One player who does not fit well in the offense is starting point guard Derrick Rose, whose penetrating skills seem to be lost in the system. Rose is in the final year of his contract and it is unlikely that he will be re-signed.
The Knicks started practicing more of the triangle after the All-Star break and used it briefly in their blowout loss at Cleveland last Thursday. It has figured prominently in their last two games, a 110-109 victory over Philadelphia and a 92-91 loss to Toronto.
“We executed pretty decently,” Hornacek said of the offense in the last two games. “We’re not scoring as many points probably, but we’re not giving up as many. The transition that helps us to balance and make the other team work a little bit. Sometimes we take quick shots and the other team doesn’t have to play defense and they’re running back at us. I think it’s helped control it a bit more.”
Notes & quotes: Kristaps Porzingis, who missed the last two games with a sprained right ankle, went through a full practice and said he expects to play Wednesday in Orlando. “I went 100 percent today,” Porzingis said. “I’m good to go, I think.” . . . Willy Hernangomez did not practice after spraining his ankle Monday night against Toronto. Hornacek was not optimistic that he would be able to play Wednesday night. It’s likely that Porzingis will start in his place at center . . . Porzingis said that he could tell that Jennings, who reportedly has reached an agreement to join the Washington Wizards, was not happy with his diminished role on the Knicks. Said Porzingis: “Brandon was a big part of this team. He’s a great guy. But you could tell he wasn’t himself lately.”